August is over and normal life is restored. GenCon is already receding into memory. Dragonmeet is pencilled in as my next exciting RPG event, but that’s still a long way away. I’ve got plenty of ways to round off my year in gaming before then.
So what have I been up to since GenCon, and what is coming up? Here’s a round-up.
Throughout August, as with the last two years, I’ve been embarking on 2016’s iteration of RPG a Day. Unlike the last two years, I actually undertook this as a daily exercise (well, sort of… close enough!), and posted on my G+ rather than my blog.
It’s been fun! But also sometimes a trial to fit in. Might give it a miss if there’s another one this year – I only have so much gaming history that I can plunder for autobiographical self-indulgences like this. Maybe I’ll just post something for the questions I have something interesting to answer with.
I realise now that posting on G+ means there’s no permanent record of my responses left here, but I’ll be buggered if I’m going to go back and link to all the posts on here. So I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into my psyche whilst it lasted.
I’ve fitted in new sessions of Force and Destiny, CAMELOT Trigger and Ferrymen games since returning, and they all seem to be going quite well. In a galaxy far, far away, my Star Warriors are battling their way off Nero the Hutt’s space barge, whilst the mecha knights of the Round Table are still reeling from last session’s hilariously brutal battle (most excitingly, Lancelot still has a war-pole stuck through him). In Ferrymen, the crew are attempting to take their political agenda to the next level, by hosting a trade union conference for interesting spaceship captains. It sounds harrowingly mundane, even by hard sci-fi standards, but believe it or not the last session was one of the best we’ve had in ages. Between personal drama within the party, running into NPCs last seen a year ago, and embarking on a tense and mechanically interesting contract negotiation… yes I know it still sounds boring! But it really wasn’t. We’re having a great time.
Between these and my Pandemic Legacy game (halfway through now, no spoilers!), I don’t really have time to join new campaigns… except for the one I’ll get to later. But I think Pandemic and CAMELOT Trigger will be done by the end of the year, with Force and Destiny finished not that long after that, so I expect to have lots of new and exciting things in the new year.
This year was my second visit to Nine Worlds… which unfortunately happened the weekend after GenCon. Thankfully Nine Worlds is more chill than GenCon by orders of magnitude, so I didn’t collapse from exhaustion by the end of the second con.
Nine Worlds caters to all kinds of geekery, and I attended some great talks about film, astronomy, Hannibal Lecter, mythology in art, historical video games and more besides. I was lucky enough to try a proper game of Captain Sonar too, which was just as fun as I thought it would be from my first taste at GenCon. Watching Grant Howitt run Doctor Magnethands was just as fun as last year, and the new venue in Hammersmith was much more convenient to get to and from. It’s the same hotel being used for Dragonmeet this year, and I’m interested to see how they’ll lay things out – vendors described this year’s Nine Worlds as a massive failure for them, and since Dragonmeet is 75% sales stands, that could be a big problem.
Most exciting for me… I presented my own seminar! I answered the public call from the fanworks track for a workshop on how to hack roleplaying games to your fandom of choice – and since that’s about 50% of what this blog is, I figured I’d put my name forward. I’d never done anything like this before, and was delighted that the talk seemed to go really well. My number one fear was that no-one would attend it – in the end, we filled the room. Admittedly I was given the smallest room at the convention, but we were still turning quite a lot of people away, so probably could have filled a larger space.
After walking through the process of how I hack games, and providing a few examples, I threw open to the room for an example setting that we could work on a rules-hack for together. In the end, we brainstormed ideas for The Resistance hidden roles card game (which was startlingly prescient… again, see below). After debating the merits of Paranoia, Fiasco and Dread, I had chance to answer a few questions. And people were still coming up to me long after the seminar had finished, so I must have been doing something right.
I actually recorded the session for a friend, so I might post it on here at some point. But I’m not super keening on massively broadcasting everything my audience contributors had to say (without their consent at least), so it might require some editing first.
Finally, the thing I’ve kept alluding to above:
I’ve been invited to join the beta playtest for Evil Hat’s upcoming Dystopian Universe RPG, set in the same cyberpunky setting as The Resistance, Coup, and One Night Revolution by Indie Board and Cards.
As per Evil Hat’s Disclosure Pledge, I am bound to talk about my experiences playing this game through whatever medium I can. Long-running blog readers will remember me making the same pledge when working on the War of Ashes playtest, which led to the creation of this blog. I can’t promise to catalogue my experiences in as much detail as last time, but I will report back as often as time allows me to do.
I’ve read through the playtest pack cover to cover now, and it looks pretty great! All the fun I’d expect of a Fate game, with extra setting-specific content: traitor mechanics, mission-based structure, Apocalypse World style playbooks etc. There are also some subtler changes in there with regards to the four actions, skill use, damage tracking and equipment. I’m not entirely sure what the purposes of the changes are yet (I love Fate Core as-is, so I tend to view any deviation with suspicion), but I’m keeping an open mind and looking forward to trying them out.
Character creation is later this week, and since the playbook-structure for chargen should make the process much faster, I’m hopeful we’ll get the chance to play for a bit as well. I need to bring a few players up to speed with the basics of Fate, but I’m hoping we can cover some of the Dystopia content as well. I’ll let you know how it goes!